10 Ways to Build a Go-For-It Culture

It’s difficult for go-for-it leaders to imagine that people are waiting for permission to act. What’s wrong with them?

You take action without asking permission. Why doesn’t everyone else?

10 ways to build a go-for-it culture:

#1. Acknowledge that fear of overstepping prevents people from stepping out.

#2. Understand the connection between authority and permission. Authority is permission to act without asking permission. The more authority you share, the less permission you need to give. Lousy leaders grasp authority – great leaders give it.

#3. Adopt an ‘intend to’ model. Train people to explain what they intend to do, rather than waiting to be told to do it. “Tell me what you intend to do.”

You’re a failure as a leader if people sit around waiting for you to tell them what to do.

#4. Leap for joy when people act without asking permission, even if they screw up. Celebrate failure as learning. Concern yourself more with patterns of failure, not individual occurrences. Learn from both.

#5. Recognize that rules enable boldness. An organization without rules of engagement is chaotic or paralyzed. One rule might be, ‘We solicit suggestions from people closest to the work.’ In this case, accountability is asking, “What suggestions have our front-line people made?”

#6. Realize that new team members need more permission than experienced.

#7. Explore limits and boundaries openly. Bump up against each other’s turf and have conversations. Explore artificial boundaries. Once boundaries are clear, everything else is permission.

Boundaries enable boldness.

#8. Look within when people keep waiting for permission. Leadership is the issue.

#9. Give permission before people ask for permission. Walk around saying, “Go for it.”

#10. Ask timid teammates, “What would embolden you to take action without asking permission?”

How might leaders build go-for-it cultures?

Which of the above ideas seems most useful? How would you implement it?